Draft Report: Chad Sobotka, College Pitcher

After impressing scouts in the Cape Cod League last summer, Chad Sobotka entered this season as the preseason pitcher of the year in the Atlantic Sun Conference. But a small fracture in his back prevented him from pitching.

While a number of clubs opted to shy away from him during the early portion of the First-Year Player Draft, the Braves took scout Billy Best's advice and selected the big right-hander out of the University of South Carolina-Upstate in the fourth round on Friday afternoon.

"He got hurt early and he wasn't really seen by anybody early," Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said. "You couldn't see him, because he didn't pitch. We felt it was worth the risk of taking him, so we did and we like him."

DeMacio said the 6-foot-6, 195-pound Sobotka has already been cleared to begin throwing. If he continues to make progress, there is a chance he will be pitching for a Braves Minor League affiliate at some point this summer.

"We're just going to going to ease him through it," DeMacio said. "He's been throwing, so it's not like he's going to be sitting out. We'll just ease him into the program and when he's ready to compete, he'll compete."

When Sobotka was healthy, he displayed a fastball that sits at 92-95 and the ability to command his slider, curveball and changeup. One scout likened him to Kris Benson, the top overall selection in the 1996 Draft.

After notching 12 saves in 25 appearances as a freshman in 2012, Sobotka posted a 3.86 ERA in 26 appearances as sophomore. During last summer's Cape Cod League, he produced a 1.95 ERA and notched 30 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings.

With Sobotka, second-round selection Garrett Fulenchek, who stands at 6-foot-4, and third-round selection Max Povse, who stands at 6-foot-8, the Braves assembled a group of pitchers who could be mistaken for basketball players.

"We'll beat anybody three-on-three," DeMacio said.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Big right-hander Povse goes to Braves in third round

Draft 2014: Braves draft RHP Max Povse No. 102

Though Max Povse's collegiate statistics might not be inspiring, his 6-foot-7, 210-pound frame certainly caught the attention of the Braves, who believed it was worth taking a chance on the high reward the big right-hander might bring.

The Braves have always been recognized as an organization that stockpiles arms through the early portion of the First-Year Player Draft. Their tendency to stay away from big-bodied hurlers was not apparent on Friday, when they took Povse in the third round and 6-foot-7 right-hander Chad Sobotka with their fourth-round selection.

2014 Draft Central

"When you have someone in the top rounds, they better have a good arm," Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said. "Then, you worry about the rest of it later."

In other words, the Braves were not concerned about the fact that Povse posted a 4.99 ERA and allowed 96 hits in the 79 1/3 innings he completed over 15 starts for the University of North Carolina-Greensboro this season. Heeding the advice of scout Billy Best, they were more interested in the fact that he possess a live fastball that has sat at 93-94 mph and rarely moved on a straight plane.

DeMacio was impressed with what he saw as Povse scattered nine hits and allowed just one run over six innings against Georgia Tech on Feb. 22.

"He's 20 years old," DeMacio said. "He's 6-foot-7 and he's finding his way around out there. He's going to be just fine."

Povse, who was selected by the Dodgers in the 42nd round of the 2011 Draft, has shown improvements with his slider over the past year and a scout who recently saw him was impressed with the feel he had for his changeup.

"We like his arm. Player development can develop him now," DeMacio said.

The Braves seem confident that Povse will forgo his senior season at UNCG. If he does, he would likely get a signing bonus in the neighborhood of the $514,200 slotted for the 102nd overall selection in the Draft.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

'Canes Diaz to Braves with fifth-round selection

Draft Report: Chris Diaz, College Pitcher

Chris Diaz might not be blessed with the physical attributes of the pitchers the Braves selected before him in this year's First-Year Player Draft. But the University of Miami southpaw has proven he can compete against top competition.

Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio was smiling when he exited the Turner Field draft room on Friday afternoon, just minutes after taking Perez with the club's fifth-round selection.

"He's a six-footer, but he's left-handed," DeMacio said of the 6-foot, 195-pound Diaz, who was named the ACC co-Pitcher of the Year for the 2014 season.

DeMacio's comment was in reference to the fact that each of the three pitchers the Braves had drafted -- Garrett Fulenchek, Max Povse and Chad Sobotka -- were powerful right-handers who stand at least 6-foot-4 tall.

After not being drafted out of high school, Diaz produced a stellar career at Miami. The 21-year-old became the Hurricanes ace during his 2013 sophomore season and competed with the U.S. National team this past summer.

Diaz does not possess overpowering stuff, as his sinking fastball sits around 90 mph. But he still managed to go 9-1 with a 2.41 ERA in 16 starts this year. He recorded 86 strikeouts and issued 41 walks in 101 innings. Opponents hit .236 against him.

After joining Miami's weekend rotation in 2013, Diaz allowed two earned runs or fewer in 24 of 32 starts. He became just the 10th Hurricane to be named a Louisville Slugger first-team All American this year.

"He's a quality left-hander who knows how to pitch," DeMacio said. "He's from a big-time school and a big-time program, and he wins."

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Athletic outfielder Curcio to Braves in round six

After selecting four pitchers and a power-hitting outfielder with their first five selections in the First-Year Player Draft, the Braves altered direction late Friday afternoon when they took Florida Southern College's athletic outfielder Keith Curcio with their sixth-round selection.

Curcio hit .314 with an .887 OPS, and he was successful with 23 of the 24 stolen base attempts he recorded in 54 games with the NCAA Division II school. The 22-year-old prospect struck out just 17 times in 210 at-bats and made a smooth transition from third base to center field.

Braves scout Buddy Hernandez was credited for following Curcio, who was named a semifinalist for the Josh Willingham Award, which goes to the NCAA Division II's top player. He was also named to the Rawlings/ABCA NCAA Division II Gold Glove team.

The Braves took Braxton Davidson with their first selection and then used each of their next four picks on pitchers -- Garrett Fulenchuk, Max Povse, Chad Sobotka and Chris Diaz. Curcio was the fourth consecutive collegiate product taken by Atlanta.

"We're going to try to get the best player or best pitcher that is available for us," Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said. "We're drafting for need."

Given that none of their outfielders rank among their top 10 prospects according to MLB.com, the Braves certainly have a need to strengthen the organization's outfield depth.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Braves snag Dykstra's son in seventh round

Draft Report: Luke Dykstra, High School Shortstop

The Braves dipped into baseball's All-Star history when they took Luke Dykstra, the son of former All-Star Lenny Dykstra, in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft.

"He plays like his daddy," a scout said via a text message sent shortly after the Braves made the selection late Friday afternoon.

Dykstra established himself as a sound offensive threat while playing shortstop and second base at suburban Los Angeles' Westlake High School. The 19-year-old infielder was recently named a 2014 Perfect Game second team All-American and the player of the year in his high school's conference.

"He's just like his dad; he plays with his hair on fire," Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said. "He's a little taller than his father, plays in the middle of the diamond, swings the bat and can run. He's a baseball player."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Dykstra has always had a close relationship with his older brother, Cutter, who is playing for the Nationals' Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Braves were impressed with Dykstra's advanced plate discipline and ability to consistently make solid contact. The infielder has also displayed the will to win that his father showed as he established himself as one of the game's most intense competitors during a 12-year Major League career that included three All-Star selections and two World Series titles.

Lenny Dykstra and Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell were teammates on the 1986 Mets team that won the World Series.

Braves use eighth-rounder on dual-threat Roney

Draft Report: Brad Roney, College Pitcher

When the Orioles selected Bradley Roney in the 18th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, they viewed him as a third baseman. Three years later, the Braves are more interested in placing him on the mound.

Roney was selected by the Braves in the eighth round on Friday. The 21-year-old right-hander spent the past two seasons serving as a corner infielder and record-setting closer at Southern Mississippi University.

If Roney signs with the Braves, he is expected to be utilized as a reliever. His fastball has routinely sat in the low 90s and occasionally touched 95 mph. Once he has a chance to solely focus on pitching, scouts believe he has the potential to refine his delivery and consequently produce more consistent action with his slider and changeup.

Roney produced a 1.24 ERA while totaling 36 1/3 innings over 18 appearances this season. He recorded 38 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .151 batting average. In addition, he notched 12 of the school-record 30 saves he compiled during his collegiate career.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

UNC-Pembroke's Edgerton tapped in ninth round

Though the Braves did not extend their tradition of selecting hometown products during the early portion of the First-Year Player Draft, they have focused heavily on the Carolinas.

When University of North Carolina-Pembroke third baseman Jordan Edgerton was selected in the ninth round on Friday afternoon, he became the fourth player the Braves drafted from either North Carolina or South Carolina, which are both monitored by scout Billy Best.

Best was also credited with finding three of the club's first four draftees -- Braxton Davidson, Max Povse and Chad Sobotka.

"Every year is different; they come from different places," Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said. "This year, the way the board works, it just so happens that Billy Best is getting guys. [Midwest scout] Gerald Turner has gotten guys in the past. That's just the way it is. We're not picking high. We're trying to make the most of what we've got."

Edgerton earned All-American honors for a second straight season after hitting .352 with a career-best 11 home runs this season. He struck out just nine times in 222 at-bats and was successful with 13 of his 16 stolen base attempts.

During his three-year career at Pembroke, Edgerton hit .352 (208-for-591) with 69 extra-base hits. One drawback has been his defense, as evidenced by the 17 errors he made in 185 chances this past season.

Braves return to college well for Tellor to end Day 2

Over the past week, the Braves have likely gained some fans from the Southeast Missouri University community. They stirred excitement among this group with last weekend's promotion of Shea Simmons, and then fueled it again on Friday when they took first baseman Matt Tellor in the 10th round of the First-Year Player Draft.

Tellor was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year after hitting .386 with 15 home runs and an impressive 1.102 OPS for Southeast Missouri this year. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound prospect made just four errors while playing 57 games at first base.

The Braves can only hope that Tellor's selection proves to be as rewarding as the one they made when they took Simmons out of this same Missouri school in the 22nd round of the 2012 Draft. Simmons fast-tracked his way through the Minor League system and made his Major League debut last weekend in Miami.

Tellor impressed with the strides that he made after hitting .311 with eight home runs and an .841 OPS in the 55 games he played during the 2013 season.

The Braves took collegiate products with seven of their first 10 selections. The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.